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Georges Perec


Georges Perec was born in 1936 in Paris. His parents were both Polish Jews. His father was killed on the front in 1940. His mother was deported to Auschwitz in 1943 where she died. Perec passed the war with his aunt and her husband. They adopted him in 1945. After school, he started studying history but soon gave up. After his military service, he spent a year in Tunisia. On his return he worked as an archivist in a neurophysiological unit where he remained till 1978. His first novel – Les Choses: Une histoire des années soixante (Things: A Story of the Sixties) – was published in 1965 and had a certain amount of success. However, his subsequent works, different in style, in various genres and playing his familiar games, were less successful. He wrote a novel without the letter e (La Disparition (A Void)) and then one whose only vowel was the letter e (Les Revenentes (The Exeter Text: Jewels, Secrets, Sex)). He also wrote a work with only one vowel (a) (What a man!) and what is believed to be the longest palindrome in the world. It was not till the publication of La Vie mode d’emploi (Life: A User’s Manual) in 1978 that he again had considerable success, which enabled him to give up his job. He died in 1982 of lung cancer.

Books about Georges Perec

David Bellos: Georges Perec: A Life in Words
Claude Burgelin: Georges Perec

Other sites

Georges Perec
On the difficulties of writing about Georges Perec
The Absolute Originality of Georges Perec
Georges Perec (in French)
Georges Perec (in French)
Georges Perec (in French)
Georges Perec/interroger l’habituel (in French)
Tentative d’épuisement de Tentative d’épuisement d’un lieu parisien de Georges Perec (in French)


1965 Les Choses: Une histoire des années soixante (Things: A Story of the Sixties)
1966 Quel petit vélo à guidon chromé au fond de la cour? (Which Moped with Chrome-plated Handlebars at the Back of the Yard?)
1967 Un homme qui dort (A Man Asleep)
1969 La Disparition (A Void)
1969 Petit traité invitant à la découverte de l’art subtil du go
1972 Les Revenentes (The Exeter Text: Jewels, Secrets, Sex)
1972 Die Maschine
1973 La Boutique obscure: 124 rêves (La Boutique obscure)
1974 Espèces d’espaces (Species of Spaces and Other Pieces)
1974 Ulcérations
1975 W ou le souvenir d’enfance (W, or, the Memory of Childhood)
1975 Tentative d’épuisement d’un lieu parisien (An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris)
1976 Alphabets
1978 Je me souviens
1978 La Vie mode d’emploi (Life: A User’s Manual)
1979 Les mots croisés
1979 Un cabinet d’amateur
1980 La Clôture et autres poèmes
1980 Récits d’Ellis Island: Histoires d’errance et d’espoir, (Ellis Island and the People of America)
1981 Théâtre I
1981 What a man!
1982 Epithalames
1985 Penser Classer
1986 Les mots croisés II
1989 53 Jours (53 Days)
1989 L’infra-ordinaire
1989 Voeux
1990 Je suis né
1991 Cantatrix sopranica L. et autres écrits scientifiques
1992 L.G.: Une aventure des années soixante
1993 Le Voyage d’hiver (The Winter Journey)
1994 Beaux présents belles absentes
1997 Perec/rinations
1999 Jeux intéressants
1999 Nouveaux jeux intéressants
2003 Entretiens et conférences
2003 Les Mots croisés
2008 L’art et la manière d’aborder son chef de service pour lui demander une augmentation (UK: The Art and Craft of Approaching Your Head of Department to Submit a Request for a Raise; US: The Art of Asking Your Boss for a Raise)
2009 Quelques-unes des choses qu’il faudrait tout de même que je fasse
2009 Voeux (Wishes)
2011 56 lettres à un ami
2012 Le condottière (Portrait of a Man Known as Il Condottiere)
2012 En dialogue avec l’époque et autres entretiens (1965-1981)
2016 L’Attentat de Sarajevo [The Sarajevo Assassination]
2019 Palindrome